Local Politics

Edwards' mistress seeks return of 'private' videos

Posted January 29, 2010 11:33 a.m. EST
Updated January 29, 2010 4:33 p.m. EST

— The campaign staffer who had a child with two-time Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards asked Orange County deputies Thursday to retrieve "very private and personal" videos and photos from the home of another former Edwards aide whose new tell-all book discloses details of the candidate's affair.

Rielle Hunter obtained a to prevent Andrew Young from using the videos to promote "The Politician," which goes on sale Saturday.

One of three videos Hunter wants back was made in September 2006 and "depicted matters of a very private and personal nature," and the eight photos included shots of her daughter, according to court records.

She alleges in her that the videos were stored at a home that Young rented for her in the gated Governor's Club development in Chatham County. The photos were on her laptop computer and in a digital camera, she said.

Hunter said in the court documents that she decided to destroy the personal video in December 2006, but she put it in a hatbox because she was worried people were searching her trash at the time. The hatbox also contained two campaign videos, some photos, her passport and other personal items.

The videos disappeared at about the same time that Young and his wife, Cheri Young, went to the house in August 2008 to pick up Hunter's passport for her, according to court records.

The Wall Street Journal reported this week that Young says in his book that he found a video showing Edwards with a naked Hunter.

Hunter alleges that the Youngs copied the photos of her daughter off her laptop or downloaded them from her digital camera when she was living with them in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 2008. Wealthy Edwards campaign supporters paid to relocate Hunter and Andrew Young, who initially claimed to be the father of her child.

Hunter contends in her court filing that Young and his wife want to use the items to generate publicity for his book.

"The Youngs are attempting to sell or otherwise distribute the video to one or more third parties," her motion states.

Maj. Charles Blackwood of the Orange County Sheriff's Office went to Young's home Thursday to obtain the videos, but he couldn't find them.

Blackwood said David Geneson, a Washington, D.C., lawyer for Young, told him that Young wants to cooperate with authorities but that they couldn't produce the items on such short notice.

A Feb. 8 hearing has been set on Hunter's motion for an injunction against Young.

Edwards last week publicly acknowledged that he fathered Hunter's daughter, who turns 2 next month. He previously denied paternity, saying his affair with Hunter, a videographer who produced promotional videos for his unsuccessful 2008 presidential run, ended long before the child was conceived.

Young says in his book that Edwards went to great lengths to hide the affair and his paternity, including asking Hunter to have an abortion and later recruiting Young to pose as the girl's father.

Edwards' attorneys, Wade Smith and James Cooney, issued a statement Friday urging "extreme caution" by people who read Young's book.

"From media reports, it is obvious that there are many allegations which are simply false. It appears that Andrew Young is primarily motivated by financial gain and media attention," the lawyers said, noting that they hadn't read the book.